I was in many ways quite delighted by many of the points you raised in your article "Transmission at Generation"! At the bottom, I provide the abstract. My visit to the article was also my first visit to the website Scientia et Fides! (sponsored by "the Faculty of Theology of Nicolaus Copernicus University, in Torun [Poland], in collaboration with the Group of Research “Science, Reason, and Faith” (CRYF), at University of Navarra [Pamplona, Spain].").
Because your discussion involves multiple connections and assessments, I'm going to make some rather drastic jumps, as I attempt to capture the essence of your position. The reader can always take a nice leisurely stroll through your PDF available at the link at the bottom of this email.
An Orientation to Your Thesis: the Body Evolves, but God Gives the Soul
"In summary, life evolved gradually by incredibly tiny leaps and amazing disappearance of intermediate varieties into the sharply forms of life we know today. Then a “leap” happened at the spiritual level: God transformed the animals of Homo sapiens into persons. Before this “leap” it does not make sense to speak about “the very first human being”.
" Ascertaining when the primeval human persons were created does not require any observable
“biological discontinuity” (Lorda 2015, 179), but observable cultural achievements (civilisation). By contrast ascertaining the beginning of a new personal identity amidst a community of persons requires a sharp biological discontinuity (fertilization or something equivalent). Notice to finish this
Section that the “transformation of non-personal individuals into persons” can be considered a form of generation of persons. This will be relevant later to explaining the transmission of original sin."
Exploring the Two Population Interpretation of Genesis
". . . Thomas states that, although born without original sin, such children [the children of parents who never sinned] would have been capable of sinning, or in other words “they would not have been born confirmed in righteousness” (S.th. I, q. 100, a. 2)."
"This analysis has an important implication: Even if Humanity is descended from a single couple (Adam and Eve), generations may have passed before the appearance of sin, and hence there is no requirement that the “originating original sin” (peccatum originale originans) was committed by a single pair from which every human person is biologically descended. Or in other words, whether the first sinners were or were not the genetically common ancestors of all human persons is irrelevant for belief in the original sin."
"This means that Thomas considers it possible that, in the beginning, humanity could have consisted of two groups: one of people in the state of innocence and one of people who fell and lost this state. However Thomas does not address (at least in the Summa theologica and to my knowledge nowhere else) the question of how such a population evolved in the following
course of history. "
Paraphrase: God could not let Righteous Hominids Mingle with Sinning Hominids
"To answer “the question that Thomas didn’t address” we invoke the principle St. Paul enounces in Romans 11:32: “For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.”
"With relation to our question this statement by St. Paul means that God has bound everyone over to the “state of original sin” so that he may redeem them all. The main tenet of the Christian faith is that people, who are in a state of sin, and in particular original sin, need Redemption to receive eternal life. By contrast, people in the state of original righteousness would not need such Redemption."
" But maintaining people in a state of righteousness together with people in a state of sin would not be suitable for the sake of Redemption. Although intuitively this assertion may seem obvious, it
deserves closer attention. . . . ."
"Accordingly we accept that after the first humans sinned, God’s plan for Redemption requires that any new human person is created in the state of non-innocence. This analysis fits also well with the Easter Liturgy calling the Original sin “truly necessary sin” and “felix culpa”: Felix was not the actual misdeed of the first human sinners but the decision of God to create their descendants without the state of innocence, in order to make it possible to redeem sinners of all times."
" In order to avoid misunderstandings in this context, it is worth clarifying that God was entirely free to create humankind or not, and after the fall God remained entirely free to redeem human beings or not. However, once God decided for Redemption He was no longer free to maintain people in the state of original righteousness along with people who had lost this state. This seems to be what St. Paul declares in Romans 11:32: God put His omnipotence and creativity at the service of
mercy, and invented an amazing way to bringing good out of sin (Burkhart 2015, 170)."
God miraculously transmits the Original Sin to each Generation!
"The state of original sin is a product of both the pride of the first sinners and God’s will to redeem
sinners. Thus ‘Adam’ is the symbol of the first sinner, who transgressed as if all people were subsumed into him. As soon as the first sin happened, in order to make it possible to redeem the sinners, God acted as if all humanity was in the state of sin and needed Redemption."
"This conclusion fits with St. Paul’s claim in Romans (5:19) that “through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners”. Thus the ‘fall’ is both a historical event involving a couple or community, and the common experience of all humanity (Rom 3:23, 5:12, 11:32). In this respect I share George Murphy’s appraisal: “if we take the idea of inspiration of Scripture seriously, it is not hard to believe that Paul could have been led to a deeper understanding than that of the earlier biblical author” (Murphy 2006)."
"Note however that the expression “because all sinned” (Romans 5:12) should not be interpreted in the sense that each (past, present, and future) human person actually sins, and only at this moment enters the state of sin and has need of Redemption, because this would amount to claim that human persons cannot freely decide to sin or not to sin."
Conclusion: God as clay pot maker? Try Piano Player!
"One could say that God acts like a pianist playing the melodies he wants; however, at intervals, God accepts to play what a human person wants. It is God who works in us, both to will and to work, but He is not the author of the sin in us. Similarly, mankind’s first fall “bounds” God (because of His mercy) to create human persons in the state of original sin, that is, lacking the state of innocence. But the reason that God has acted this way is not His will, but the humans who fell (Suarez 2015)."
This was proposed by the Prior Pope!!!
"The explanation of original sin as “Relational damage” was proposed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in four homilies the author held during Lent 1981, at Liebfrauen-Dom in Münich. These homilies appeared in 1986 as a booklet, which may be considered the first published Ratzinger’s attempt to reformulate Catholic teaching on this matter. Nonetheless Ratzinger seems to have taught these ideas as early as 1964 in lectures he imparted in Münster (Sanz 2014). The 1986 booklet was reedited in 1996 and 2014."
"In our following analysis we will mainly refer to Chapter 3 about Original sin (“Erbsünde”) in the Fourth Homily. The corresponding text is reproduced by “Institut Papst Benedikt XVI” quoting the first edition of 1986, and remains unchanged in the 2014 edition, which appears under the author’s name “Joseph Ratzinger/ Benedikt XVI” (Ratzinger/Benedict XVI 1986; 2014, 72–73). One can therefore safely assume that the text also reflects the author’s thinking to date. Ratzinger’s main tenet is that original sin consists in a relational damage affecting every person at the moment he or she begins human existence..."
"In the German original of the teaching on original sin as “relational damage” Ratzinger questions the term “Erbsünde”, which is supposed to mean a sin inherited by “biological reproduction”. By stressing the “relational” nature of “original sin” Ratzinger suggests a different form of propagation. In the Münster Lectures (1964) he considers the hypothesis that God created a first couple of human persons (man and woman) among a population of animals with human appearance, and
describes it as an explanation that unifies “theological monogenism” and “biological polygenism”. This distinction allowed him to argue that the notions of “monogenism” and “polygenism” do not necessarily contradict each other, since they can refer to conceptual levels that do not completely
overlap („Biologischer Polygenismus und theologischer monogenismus sind deswegen nicht notwendigerweise sich ausschließende Gegensätze, weil ihre frageebene sich nicht vollständig deckt“, quoted in: Sanz 2014, 482, Note 82)."
So what happened to the Non-Sinning Hominids?
"However Ratzinger did not address the question of what happened to the population of non-personal but human looking animals: Did they disappear or rather become also transformed
into persons by God? In this context it is worth noting how Joseph Ratzinger interprets the
"In the Bible this word [“Adam”] expresses the unity of the whole creature “man”, so that one can speak of the biblical idea of a “corporate personality”. So if Jesus is called “Adam”, this implies that he is intended to gather the whole creature “Adam” in himself. (Ratzinger 2004, 236). In the German original: „Das Neue Testament macht das erkennbar, indem es ihn einen ‚Adam‘ nennt; dies Wort drückt in der Bible die Einheit des ganzen Wesens Mensch aus, sodass man von der biblischen Idee einer ‚Korporativepersönlichkeit‘ spricht.“ (Ratzinger 2005, 222)."
Don't look to Original Sin in the Flesh - - it comes in, from God, through our Souls!
"God selected one couple among all the individuals of the species Homo sapiens and transformed them into persons in the “state of innocence”. That is, He bestowed the animals with spiritual powers (intellect and free will) strong enough to perfectly master their selfish Darwinian tendencies
and even overcome pain and illness. The original sin was the disobedience of these primal persons to God’s commandment. God then continued to transform all the other living Homo sapiens, and from this moment bestowed each newly conceived individual with personhood."
"The species continued to exist in this way until the present day. However, God’s plan for Redemption implied that people created after the fall could not be in the state of innocence, and so the consequences of the fall of primal human persons became transmitted to all humans at all times. In this sense there was transmission of original sin immediately after the fall, first through transformation of already existing non-personal individuals of the species into persons, and then onward to their biological descendants. And these two types of transmission can appropriately be
referred to as “transmission at generation”, since in both cases it happens at the moment a new human person comes into existence."
[END OF EXCERPTS]
And there's plenty more in the article!
I had the most mysterious experience while reading @AntoineSuarez 's paper: I honestly felt like I was in a monastic cell, reading the latest new thoughts on how to explain Original Sin. In the paper there is realism, there is practicality, and then there is the fantastic, and the mysterious, and the sheer drama of falling from the pinnacle of Solomon's Temple ... looking for a place to land, and somehow landing in a the soft cushioning of hundreds of words on paper, weaving a tapestry of God's mind to save you from destruction!
It was exhilarating . . . but True? How do you disprove a miracle? This is Roman Catholic metaphysics at its very best. I stand and offer a "slow clap" in recognition of a very difficult concept to "sell" to an audience that is very, very different and distant from the ecstatically imaginative realms of the Medieval Roman Catholics!
'Transmission at generation': Could original sin have happened
at the time when Homo sapiens already had a large population size?
by Antoine Suarez (Center for Quantum Philosophy, Zürich)
Models have been proposed assuming that God created the first human persons at the time when Homo sapiens already had a large population size; this hypothesis agrees with emerging data of evolutionary genetics. The present article argues that in such a historical context the propagation of original sin can be explained through “transmission at generation”, in accord with Romans 11:32, and the “Decree concerning original sin of the Council of Trent”.